President Elbegdorj has paid a visit to Japan. Japan and Mongolia has been expanding their ties in government level and Japan has been rendering development assistances to Mongolia for many years.
They repaired our power plant when it was almost about to stop, provided circulating capital when we had no money to extract coal, presented fifty buses when city’s public transport was on the verge of stopping that winter, and built dozen of secondary schools nationwide. Soon they are going to build an airport on long-term credit.
All these are bringing a new consumption culture to Mongolia. However, Japanese business is not in hurry to enter Mongolia. Main reason is that we, Mongolians, are not predictable or it is still hard to trust us. Business representatives I met say that there is still high risk in business trust in Mongolia. Exactly the same talk developed a decade ago. There is a huge gap between Mongolian and Japanese person regarding the understanding of social relationships.
The fundamental ideology of Japanese people is Samurai rules. The Japanese worship to the rules, which include many characters such as mastering own deed perfectly, courage, patience, modesty, finish what started or what promised and bear responsibility for all words said, and teach them to their children. The quality of goods and products created by the Japanese is a clear demonstration of this. Though not all 130 million Japanese obey to these rules, the dominant culture in Japan is the culture of Samurai.
Everytime I go to Japan, I feel this culture more and more and I get more eager to find and restore own rules and culture we had once. Even Japanese say that they are connected with Mongolians and that there are many similar qualities between Mongolian warriors and Japanese samurai. In 1192, Yoritomo Minamoto left Kyoto to build an administration of his own, centered on his military headquarters in Kamakura and soon he managed to unite other cities and clans under his rule. He established the supremacy of the warrior samurai caste and the first bakufu (shogunate) at Kamakura, which lasted until the mid-19th century.
He established a harsh military (samurai) regime under which he stopped luxuriated use of lords (then-lords usually used to wear twelve-layered kimono until the Yoritomo rules) criticizing the fact that ordinary people got poor due to high tax rate. The new regime ruled to use the foods and goods enough only for staying alive, not to collect properties for private use and to commit to physical development.
His younger brother Yositsune Minomoto was the most popular and courageous samurai of his era and two brothers clashed with each other with respect to their ideology of how to rule the state. The younger brother disappeared without a trace and even there is a gossip that he joined with Mongolians. Khubilai Khaan of Mongolia attacked Japan twice in 1274 and 1281, but major typhoons dispersed Mongolian fleets. The Japanese named this typhoon “kamikaze” /divine wind/ and later the name was used to glorify Japanese suicide pilots during World War II.
Japan’s samurai culture has become ideological principle in their everyday life, making them responsible, disciplined and competitive. Where is a historical fundament of courage, patience and intelligence of our Mongolians?
If we manage to find the answer to this question, then it might be a big step towards bringing closer the difference between Mongolian and Japanese people regarding the understanding of social relationships. Only when this difference gets lesser, the business cooperation between the two nations would develop in real sense.